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Northridge Football Is Left Holding Bag in Fund-Raising

June 18, 1998|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ

If I wasn't so cheap, I'd give $50 to whoever knows how much cash Cal State Northridge's football program bagged during the volunteer spring fund-raising campaign.

Here's a hint: A lunch sack would store it.

Fact is, the Matadors would double their take if the winner donated the prize.

By comparison, four Northridge teams each raised $2,000 or more through volunteers, with men's soccer on top at about $6,500. On the flip side, four teams didn't raise a penny.

So, is the front office, so to speak, sweating it over this football financial flop?

"I'm not overly concerned," said Paul Bubb, Northridge's athletic director. "The football boosters have two major events coming up that will boost those figures up."

The first is a golf tournament on July 20 at Porter Valley Country Club with a $175 entry fee, which, to the common hacker, could mean close to $1 per stroke.

That will be followed on Aug. 7 with a roast of former football coaches Terry Donahue of UCLA and John Robinson of USC at the Warner Center Marriott. It'll take $125 to step up to a plate for that one.

"We already have $20,000 underwritten for the golf tournament," Matador football Coach Ron Ponciano said. "Our goal is to net $30,000 from the tournament and $50,000 to $62,000 from the roast."

Add to that the $15,000 raised for the football program in the spring by other sources, including a $5,000 gift from one donor, and Ponciano won't have to ask for federal aid.

Still, Bubb said the number of boosters must grow.

"We need to be in a position where the majority of our fund-raising is done in the spring," Bubb said. "We need 1,000 people [giving to the program] rather than 500 people."

Conversely, he pointed to one key factor for the poor harvest in the football volunteer spring fund-raiser.

"This year, just when they were going out to try and raise funds, the volunteers were hit with the [proposed] football stadium being pulled from the [campus development master] plan and that caused confusion and concerns [in the community] about our [football] program."

A winning season would help change those feelings. And probably fill the volunteer bandwagon with a few more people next spring.

I'll bet a 50 spot on it.

*

Ponciano will log a few frequent-flier miles just to make the golf tournament.

Turns out the Big Sky Conference football kickoff is July 19-21 in Park City, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Ponciano, Northridge's first-year coach, will fly to the tournament on July 20 after speaking at the kickoff breakfast that morning. He'll return to Park City that night.

"It was the only time we could get the course," Ponciano said. "I've got to be at the tournament and raise money."

*

Something tells me the Matadors are about to make a serious run for Gilbert Arenas, Grant High's high-scoring guard.

Arenas, a 6-foot-3 All-City guard who averaged 29.8 points last season, will be the most sought-after recruit from the Valley next year.

The Matadors might just have the guy who can reel in Arenas.

Northridge Coach Bobby Braswell is in the process of hiring Eric Brown as a part-time assistant.

Brown, an assistant at Valley College last season, was an assistant at Grant the previous three seasons.

"Eric Brown is a guy I noticed [at basketball camps] when I got here [in 1996] and I liked his work and hustle," Braswell said. "He's a nice guy, energetic, full of integrity."

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